Nick Brunner and Matt Bodnar
“It’s not the Kennedy seat, and it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat”
One single line could very well help right the course of America and the presidency of Barack Obama. This single line sums up the campaign message that propelled Scott Brown to victory in the blue state of Massachusetts. For the first time in over a half a century a Republican has won a senate seat in the Bay State. In a state where only one-third of the registered voters are Republican, it is clear that the people of Massachusetts have had enough of business as usual in Washington D.C. President Obama won the White House with the support of independent voters and the promise of bringing change to a government in need. However, over a year has passed since the inauguration and Americans still see no sign of this change being enacted. Was this vote simply about the people of Massachusetts or was it a referendum on the liberal agenda that is being spoon-fed to the American people? Early indications point to rough water ahead for President Obama and his Democratic comrades if they do not drastically correct their course.
To pull off such a shocking upset, Scott Brown had to orchestrate a strong, grass-roots campaign to relay his message of government restraint. Most of the time this election would barely be newsworthy in the state of Massachusetts and back page news almost everywhere else as another Democrat would assume the seat and vote the party line in Washington. However, this year a win by a non-Democrat would cost the party their 60th vote in the Senate, ever important as this would insure that they would no longer hold a super-majority and be able to fast-track their agenda through the floor of the senate. Basically, without the right to filibuster, bills could be signed into law without opposition or meaningful debate and discussion.
This election had such national importance that President Obama was able to find time in his busy schedule, between making Super Bowl predictions and sitting in with the commentators at a Georgetown men’s basketball game, to make his way up to The Commonwealth and downplay Brown’s credibility and highly effective pick-up truck advertisement. As was the case in New Jersey and Virginia, the voice of the people resonated above that of the President and the democrats were defeated for the third time in the past three months. Vital indicators are beginning to suggest that President Obama’s idea of change may not be in agreement with that of the people, even those who voted for him during the election. A recent Gallup Daily Presidential Poll (January 30, 2010) suggest that 47% of voters approve and 47% disapprove of the job the President is doing, making him the most polarized president in history after only one year in office. Furthermore, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of U.S. voters say Congress should drop health care reform and focus on more immediate ways to improve the economy and create jobs, while just 30% of voters nationwide think Congress should press ahead with health care.
It appears that President Obama is beginning to lose the support of voters, especially those who carried him to victory a year ago, Independents. Despite what people want and what these polls clearly illustrate, President Obama has shown no signs of altering his stance. Unlike the President, Scott Brown seems to be listening to the people, he observed, “One thing is very, very clear as I traveled across this state. People do not want the trillion dollar healthcare plan that is being forced on the American people, and this bill is not being debated openly and fairly.” Brown was very clear throughout his campaign that he would be the fortieth vote against the current healthcare bill. He believes the bill will, “raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for elders on Medicare.” He goes on to say, “I support strengthening the existing private market system with policies that will drive down costs and make it easier for people to purchase affordable insurance.”
These are certainly trying times for the many Americans and the Obama administration. Does he forge ahead with his healthcare bill, or does he take a step back and reconsider his position? The next few months may very well seal the fate of President Barack Obama. If he listens to the polls, and quite frankly the mid-term election results, like Bill Clinton did before him, Obama has a chance to revive his presidency. If not, he should be ready to move back to Chicago after just four years in the Oval Office.